Monday morning I was greeted by the news. Every radio station I tuned in to, every news report I read, every person I spoke to seemed to be bursting at the seams with the news that Osama Bin-Ladin had been found and had been killed.
“USA!! USA!! USA!! USA!! USA!!” … The chants seemed to echo in every corner of the country. The enemy has been destroyed. After 10 years of playing hide-and-seek, justice has been served. The world celebrates.
But, how should Christians react to this news? Honestly, there’s a conflict in my mind as to how I should respond. On one hand, it is wonderful that this man has been stopped, and that no more innocent lives will be taken by his hand. But, I find it hard to celebrate. It hurts to know that another soul has dropped into hell, eternally separated from God.
I mean, does he deserve hell? Yes, of course!! But guess what…so do we!
What does the Bible say? Honestly you can find scripture for both sides of the matter.
“Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?” Ezekiel 18:23
“Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth:” Proverbs 24:17
“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?” Matthew 5:43-46
“When it goeth well with the righteous, the city rejoiceth: and when the wicked perish, there is shouting.” Proverbs 11:10
“The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance: he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked.” Psalm 58:10
“And all the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was in quiet: and they slew Athaliah with the sword beside the king’s house.” 2 Kings 11:20 (after an enemy of Israel was brought to justice)
“Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to his people.” Deuteronomy 32:43
As God’s people, we are to realize several major things:
1. We all deserve God’s wrath and judgement. You’re a sinner just as much as Mr. Bin-Ladin was. You deserve hell. So do I. Even if we only offend in one point of the law, we are guilty of it all.
2. Justice will always be carried out. Whether here or in eternity, each sin must be accounted for before a perfect and Holy God. We know that God is good and will always do right.
3. Christ is our only hope. He paid the price for our sins. We were reconciled freely back to God through the righteousness of Christ himself. The only way I escape the judgement of God is because it was already poured out on Jesus on my behalf!
4. God is not willing that any should perish. Though each human must one day be judged, God’s desire is that they be reconciled, forgiven, justified and pardoned.
So, in all the celebration, we can rest assured that justice has been carried out. This justice is good and was deserved. But let us also mourn that another creature of God has perished. My hope is that Osama Bin-Ladin accepted Christ in his last moments of life, but we will never know that until we reach eternity. Enemies of God will be judged. But God desires for those same enemies to become his children by accepting the pardon of Christ. Will you pray with me that more enemies of the cross be reconciled by the cross?
“And how shall they hear without a preacher?”